Stories by Maggie Teliska

Expert Voices

Passenger ferries are going electric

passangers boarding an electric ferry on a river in France
An all-electric, zero-emission ferry in Lorient, France. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Ships are the latest mode of transportation to see electric upgrades as the maritime industry faces increased pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel propulsion.

The big picture: Passenger ferries are ideal for electric propulsion using current battery technology, which can reduce water and air pollution while providing a quiet, vibration-free trip. Short routes with frequent stops along populated shorelines offer ample opportunities to charge the battery packs.

Expert Voices

Insurers are easing adoption of large-scale energy storage

parts of a flow battery
Parts of a flow battery at the Fraunhofer Institute in Pfinztal, Germany. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

German insurance company Munich Re will now offer long-term insurance on battery performance in energy storage systems, a move that could reduce barriers to investment in energy technologies.

Why it matters: Large-scale renewable energy systems are expensive and complex, and in some cases their manufacturers have declared bankruptcy before the end of their systems' maintenance and warranty periods. Insuring against such risks — as well as those associated with relatively untested new battery chemistries — could spur adoption of innovative technologies by utilities and transportation providers and in off-grid applications.

Expert Voices

Disney World solar farm reflects theme parks' push for sustainability

Florida, Orlando, Epcot Center, View Including Sphere And Topiary.
The Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Disney Orlando flipped the switch on Feb. 27 on a brand new 50-megawatt solar farm, which produces enough electricity to power 10,000 homes.

Why it matters: Amusement parks and resorts consume a great amount of energy during the day during peak hours. Installing renewable energy systems using renewables in a visible way not only reduces carbon emissions, but also displays a commitment to sustainability to park-goers.